This memorandum, conducted as part of the MPO’s freight planning program, provides an initial overview of a specific, but relevant, planning question: the possibility of transit vehicles and trucks sharing roadway priority, such as dedicated lanes or streets, on arterial roadways. This scan gives key stakeholders, including municipalities, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Massport, and freight shippers and carriers, something to react to and develop avenues for future research.
The memorandum examines several areas where freight and transit may share roadway space within the Boston region. Most prominently, it examines Summer Street in the South Boston Waterfront (Seaport), where, at the time of writing, there is a design process underway to create bus lanes that would be shared with trucks for some distance. It then features a literature review and a series of case studies from around the United States and elsewhere.
The memorandum identifies several major lessons:
- Freight and transit have potential, although contextual, shared interests in roadway design and priority measures.
- There is a shortage of actionable quantitative data on shared transit-and-freight priority.
- Specific goals and priorities should, ideally, be identified ahead of time and the specifics of a treatment designed to meet them.
The memorandum also calls for follow-up local actions, including
- collection of before and after data from the Summer Street project;
- additional research in the vein of this memo, notably extending literature review to non-English sources, and conducting more interviews; and
- identifying characteristics for defining potential shared priority corridors or areas.
Appendices include a matrix of case studies; material on the Conley Terminal and Logan Airport as major freight generators; and acknowledgements for help with the research.